Gun Owners Put Their Money And Votes Where Their Mouth Is

The Pew Research Center released a poll on views about gun control this past weekend. The survey itself was taken at the beginning of May.

When asked whether it was more important to control guns or to preserve the right of Americans to own guns, the response was virtually a dead heat. 50% said it was more important to control guns while 48% said it was more important to preserve the right of American to own guns. This is a change from last December when Pew surveyed Americans after the Newtown shooting and found greater support for gun control. The overall margin of error in the poll is 2.9 percentage points which puts these results within the margin of error.

The survey also asked respondents about whether they had contributed to a gun rights or gun control organization as well as questions on civic involvement on the issue. In what should be no surprise to those of us who support gun rights, we put our money and our efforts where our mouth is.

From a US News and World Report on the survey published today:

Gun rights supporters donate four times more and are more politically involved than gun control advocates, according to a poll from the Pew Research Center published this weekend.

In May 2013, six months after the Newtown school shooting that sparked a national conversation on guns – and a month after the Senate failed to pass a major gun bill – Pew found that 25 percent of people who support gun rights had contributed money to a second amendment group, while just 6 percent of people who support gun control had donated on the issue.

Just as important as donating, gun rights supporters are more likely to have contacted a public official about gun rights issues. Moreover, they are more likely to have expressed their views regarding gun rights on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter as well as having signed a petition on gun rights. Perhaps most importantly, gun rights supporters are more likely to have more than one of these activities by a 3 to 2 margin within the last 6 months and a 2 to 1 margin lifetime.

Even with the White House using the bully pulpit to push their gun control agenda and the media acting as propaganda agents for gun prohibitionists, we who support gun rights are still the ones who are more willing to put our money where our mouth is and are more politically involved.

The Ground War

The fight to preserve our gun rights in the face of the attacks that have been launched by the Obama Administration will come down to who has the better ground war – us or them.

On Monday, Vice-President Joe Biden met with a group of House Democrats regarding the proposals that would be put forth to advance gun control. In addition to laying out the proposals he was going to present to President Obama, he discussed the campaign to get them enacted by Congress.

But Biden did indicate that the remains of the Obama campaign apparatus may be activated in the effort.

“He said that this has been a real focus on the policy and that the politics of this issue, that a strategy on the politics of the issue hasn’t been undertaken yet,” Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) told POLITICO. “He did remind us that the campaign infrastructure is still accessible.”

Not only is that campaign infrastructure still in place but Obama for America is still actively raising money even though Barack Obama is Constitutionally limited to two terms.

In an article in The Atlantic today, Ron Fournier discussed how Obama and his advisers plan to use his personal political organization, Obama for America, to fight for everything from gun control to higher taxes.

Former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, a confidant of the president, signaled the high-testosterone approach shortly before Obama’s announcement on guns, telling MSNBC, “The president has the most exciting campaign apparatus ever built. It’s time to turn that loose.”

He speculated that the National Rifle Association is lobbying lawmakers with the names and numbers of new NRA members in each congressional district, gun-rights supporters galvanized by the Newtown elementary school massacre. “If the NRA has a list,” Gibbs said, “then Obama for America has a bigger list.”

OFA is the president’s personal political operation, affiliated with the Democratic National Committee. One of the great failings of Obama’s first term was his inability to mobilize his election coalition to advance his policy goals from the White House.

He’s going to try again.

Gibbs is probably right that Obama for America has a bigger list than all the gun rights organizations put together.

However, the people who have supported Obama in the past have a multitude of interests and causes ranging from economic issues to gay rights and everything in between. By contrast, gun rights supporters regardless of whether they belong to the NRA, GOA, CCRKBA, SAF, or any of a number of state-level organizations are focused on one thing – gun rights.

The Pew Research Center for People and the Press released the results of their most recent poll concerning gun control on Monday. According to this poll, a majority of Americans favor more background checks and a new assault weapon ban. A near majority favor restrictions on magazines. In and of itself, this is not good news. Overall, a bare majority (51% vs. 45%)  think it is more important to control guns compared to preserving gun rights.

Fortunately, the Pew Research Center did not limit their research to just who favored what ban and in what numbers. They also studied how committed and how active supporters on each side of the gun control debate were. The results were interesting.

There is a wide gap between those who prioritize gun rights and gun control when it comes to political involvement. Nearly a quarter (23%) of those who say gun rights should be the priority have contributed money to an organization that takes a position on gun policy, compared with just 5% of those who prioritize gun control. People who favor gun rights are also about twice as likely as gun control supporters to have contacted a public official about gun policy (15% vs. 8%).

While the numbers expressing an opinion on social media or signing a petition are roughly equal with a slight edge to those favoring gun rights, petitions and posts on Facebook don’t get the attention of those in Congress nearly as much as money and calls from constituents.

Make no mistake that we are in a war but it is a ground war that we can win. Those on the side of the Second Amendment put our money where our mouth is and back it up with calls and letters to politicians.

If you haven’t called your Congressman or Senators yet, do it tomorrow. If you don’t like talking on the phone, send them a fax. Indeed fax it to both their local offices and their Washington office. If you don’t have time to do either of those two, at least go to the Ruger website and use their tool to make your views known. Since it went live on Saturday, almost 450,000 people have taken advantage of that tool which sends a simple letter to your congressman, both senators, governor, lt. governor, and state representatives.

And continue contacting them each and every week for the next few months!

Garbage In, Garbage Out

CBS News is reporting that a study from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism found that President Obama had gotten more negative media coverage than any other 2012 presidential candidate over the past five months.

Pew found that Mr. Obama was the subject of negative assessments nearly four times as often as he was the subject of positive assessments. It found he received “positive” coverage nine percent of the time, “neutral” coverage 57 percent of the time and “negative” coverage 34 percent of the time.

Pardon me if I am skeptical of this study and of their definition of media. It claims to have drawn from over 11,500 news outlets “including local and national broadcasts, news websites and blogs.”

The study used the amount of attention a candidate received and the “tone of that coverage.” They put the tone into positive, neutral, and negative categories. According to the Project for Excellence in Journalism, they used the following methodology.

To assess the tone of coverage, PEJ researchers then employed computer algorithmic software from Crimson Hexagon. Researchers conducted a tone analysis and then “trained” the algorithm to follow the same rules as they had themselves. PEJ also conducted inter-coder tests to ensure the computer coding was replicable and valid by comparing human coding to the results derived by the algorithm. The project also had different people build the algorithms separately to ensure that they were achieving consistent results. Each computer algorithm was then additionally tested for reliability by having multiple researchers review the content assessed and the results.

The tone analysis was conducted on two different samples. The first was of the coverage and commentary on more than 11,500 news outlets, based on their RSS feeds. While the content is text based, the material on various television news sites often closely resembled the stories that had aired on television, and in some cases were exact transcripts. The second was from hundreds of thousands of blogs. (Facebook and Twitter feeds were not included after researchers found that the political assessment offered there was typically quite brief or referred to blog or news content.)

Anytime you use a computer algorithm, it is susceptible to tampering and tweaking regardless of the so-called safeguards that the researchers supposedly employed. It goes back to that old saying about computers, if you put garbage in, you’ll get garbage out.

The study does acknowledge that blogs are more critical of candidates than other new media outlets. This I would believe. However, the general results from this study lump blogs in with the rest of the media. In relation to the coverage of Obama, this will tend to raise the negatives while hiding the generally uncritical reporting on Obama by the mainstream media. Digging deeper into this study, you find that blogs on both ends of the political spectrum are harsher towards Obama than the news media in general. However, the study does not include a similar breakout for the mainstream media like they do for blogs. In other words, you cannot compare the tone of coverage given by blogs with that of the mainstream media.

Reports such as these that “show” more negative coverage of Obama lets the mainstream media get away with their fawning and generally uncritical reporting on him. If the mainstream media were actually taking a negative approach towards Obama, you would see in-depth, critical stories hammering his administration over Project Gunwalker. As it is, you have Sharyl Attkisson at CBS, William LaJeunesse at Fox, and sometimes Richard Solarno at the LA Times writing about it. The New York Times, the Washington Post, NBC, CNN, ABC, and the rest of the elite media would just as soon not write about Project Gunwalker. They’d rather focus on the astro-turfed Occupy Wall Street nonsense.